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A strong contender of The Nobel Prize for Literature, the Italian novelist, short story writer and journalist, Italo Calvino was one of Italy’s most celebrated writers who is known to blend fantasy, comedy, and fable to give an illuminated depiction of modern life and in turn giving a new dimension to novel writing.
See the fact file below for more information on the Italo Calvino or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Italo Calvino worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Italo Calvino was born on October 15, 1923 in Santiago de Las Vegas, Cuba. Both his parents were botanists who returned to their native Italy soon after the birth of Calvino.
- Calvino grew up playing on his parents’ farm in San Remo while his father taught at the University of Turin. The influences of the lush greenery, vegetation, and flora Calvino grew up in are often reflected in his writings.
- Following his parents’ footsteps, Calvino went to the University of Turin to read science after finishing preparatory school. He soon dropped out to serve with the Italian army during the German occupation of Italy and fought German and Italian fascists for two years.
- Calvino continued his education in 1945 after the war ended, however, he took a different path and pursued a degree under the Faculty of Letters. A year later, he was initiated into the literary world by Elio Vittorini, who published his short story Andato al comando (“Gone to Headquarters”) in Il Politecnico, a Turin-based weekly magazine associated with the university.
Literary Beginnings and Involvement in Communism
- The horror of the war had not only provided the raw material for his literary ambitions but deepened his commitment to the Communist cause. Viewing civilian life as a continuation of the partisan struggle, he confirmed his membership of the Italian Communist Party.
- On reading Vladimir Lenin’s State and Revolution, he plunged into post-war political life, associating himself chiefly with the workers’ movement in Turin.
- He had also began writing a collection of stories based on his experiences during the war which eventually developed into his much appreciated novel, The Path to the Nest of Spiders (1947).
- In 1947, he graduated with a Master’s thesis on Joseph Conrad, wrote short stories in his spare time, and landed a job in the publicity department at the Einaudi publishing house run by Giulio Einaudi.
- Although brief, his stint put him in regular contact with Cesare Pavese, Natalia Ginzburg, Norberto Bobbio, and many other left-wing intellectuals and writers.
- He then left Einaudi to work as a journalist for the official Communist daily, L’Unità, and the newborn Communist political magazine, Rinascita. He spent two months in the Soviet Union as correspondent and during this period, Pavese and poet Alfonso Gatto became Calvino’s closest friends and mentors.
- The 1950s marked the beginning of Calvino’s literary success as he produced quite a few noteworthy works on various subject matters and stories set in remote times with a flavor of comedy and fantasy. Some of these include The Cloven Viscount (1952), The Nonexistent Knight (1959), and The Baron in the Trees (1957).
- During this period, Calvino spent most of his time in Rome which was at the time the political and literary hub for the people of Italy. Tired of writing for Communist publications and disturbed by the Hungarian Revolt of 1956, Calvino resigned from the Communist Party. He had lost interest and belief in politics.
- In 1956, Calvino published Italian Folktales, a collection of 200 authentic folktales from all regions and dialects of Italy which brought him immense international recognition, establishing his name as a significant literary figure.
- He then moved to Paris in the early 1960s where he published The Watcher in 1963. Some more publications followed including Cosmicomics (1968), Invisible Cities (1972), The Castle of Crossed Destinies (1973), and If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler (1979).
- Calvino returned to Rome with his family in 1980 where they lived at their country house at Pineta Roccamare. He finished writing Mr. Palomar in 1983.
- When Calvino visited the United States in 1975, he was given an honorary membership to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1984, Mount Holyoke College awarded an honorary degree to Calvino.
- Italian Folktales was included in the American Library Association’s Notable Book List in 1980.
- Italo Calvino died from cerebral hemorrhage on September 19, 1985 at the age of 61 in Sienna.
Italo Calvino Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Italo Calvino across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Italo Calvino worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about a strong contender of The Nobel Prize for Literature, the Italian novelist, short story writer and journalist, Italo Calvino who was one of Italy’s most celebrated writers who is known to blend fantasy, comedy, and fable to give an illuminated depiction of modern life and in turn giving a new dimension to novel writing.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Authors Online
- Italy’s Finest
- In Italo’s Time
- Library Hunt
- Judge by the Cover
- Italo Speaks
- What’s in a Name?
- Calvino’s Clique
- Map It Out
- Explorers’ Exchange
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Link will appear as Italo Calvino Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, May 24, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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